A Grief Observed – by C.S. Lewis

6 10 2017

At 64 pages I imagined I’d fly through this, even if it was non-fiction. Nope, 10 days!

Essentially these four chapters are Lewis’ scribblings in his notepad after his wife, Joy, passed away. Sometimes it’s a sheer expression of grief, others get more theological.

He actually originally published it anonymously and so the initials with which he refers to other people are all different – I know “H” refers to his wife, but not any of the others!

Some ideas he raises are so interesting. He suggests that some qualities we consider bad, God has, and that they’re not bad, but we only see them as bad because of our human narrow view of the world. C.S. Lewis is definitely one person I have at my dream dinner party – he’s said some quite controversial things in his time and I want to talk much further!

He gives a analogy of grief as going round in circles, and daring to hope that he might be on a spiral, and which direction he is going on it. Such a clever man.

Again there are some great one-liners in here too, my favourite being “What do people mean when they say ‘I am not afraid of God because I know He is good.’? Have they never been to a dentist?”

I very much enjoyed his use of the plural of cul de sac, “culs de sac”, which is so much more pleasing than what we’d assume “cul de sacs”. But that’s a bit of an aside.

I also loved his reference to “when you have learned to do quadratics and enjoy doing them” – because eventually everyone should enjoy them 😀

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One response

13 10 2017
Toni

“What do people mean when they say ‘I am not afraid of God because I know He is good.’? Have they never been to a dentist?”

Quite. IIRC he also suggested that there is no comfort in our belief at the death of a loved one, in the way comfort is understood in the west. Having been there, I would agree with him, and times of loss are something one must walk through and endure, rather than being able to feel ‘OK’.

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